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The headquarters of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum
The headquarters of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum will be set up in Doha, the capital of Qatar, the country's deputy prime minister said Tuesday.

The world's leading gas exporters, which gathered for their seventh ministerial meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, considered St. Petersburg, Doha and Tehran as possible headquarters for the forum.

"It will be Doha," Qatari Vice-Premier Abdallah bin Hamad al-Attyia said.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko confirmed the decision, adding that the next GECF meeting would take place in Qatar.

He said the participants approved the charter of the organization, but guidelines for cooperation will be specified during future meetings. Shmatko said the parties would decide on electing the secretary general of the organization during the next meeting.

Established in Tehran in 2001, the forum currently involves Algeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. The countries represent about 73% of the world's gas reserves and 42% of production,

Norway holds observer status, along with Equatorial Guinea, which applied for full membership during the meeting.

"Here, at the forum, Equatorial Guinea announced its entry as a full-fledged member," Shmatko said.

Shmatko also said that Kazakhstan, which was a guest participant at the meeting, had been granted observer status. "We received an application from Kazakh representatives for observer status, and their request was met," he said.

The Russian minister said the forum was open to new members, with candidates needing the votes of three-quarters of the member states to join.

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